The Social Pedagogy Momentum project Bulletin
Momentum Bulletin


Welcome to the second issue of Momentum Bulletin. This newsletter is circulated monthly by email to foster carers, social workers and trainers who choose to subscribe for free.

It is a forum for us all to share ideas about social pedagogy, feedback on training, book reviews, recipes, activities etc.

It has been sparked off by a group on the social pedagogy training course but it is open to everyone. We hope it will help to keep up the momentum between training and beyond!

Thoughts on Social Pedagogy

I enjoyed the session in the last training when we had to think about parenting styles using animals. Examples included the wise owl, the wriggly snake, grizzly bear, cool cat and timid mouse.

The session threw up the fact that you can be all of these at different times and that they were not all negative or positive. Sometimes anger can be useful to drive you to campaign for change, sometimes you need to be a bit of a wriggly snake to find your way around situations, work things out and avoid confrontation and of course, most times it is good to think about being a wise owl but not always.

Our foster daughter attended this session as a break from doing homework in another room in the centre - her school was closed for the day. She helped us draw the cool cat, teaching us a few useful phrases - that's a bump means it's a rip off, he's peng means he's cool, yolo stands for you only live once - how wise!

Social Pedagogy courses

• Communication and Social Pedagogy, an Institute of Education (IOE) short course, will be running 31 July – 6 August 2013. This course can be taken standalone or as a 30 credit module, with accreditation through assessment of learning. Applications are currently being taken for the short course.

• Students with an accredited module may choose to combine this with MA study at IOE, for example on the MA Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights.

• The MA in Social Pedagogy will run in 2014-2015, subject to sufficient qualified applicants. 

Inspirational words

"The pedagogue is seen as a gardener, someone who nurtures the conditions for the child's true nature to unfold and develop, as opposed to a sculptor, who forms the child according to a certain, pre-defined image."

John Amos Comenius, (1592-1670) Czech philosopher.

Please email any other quotes you want to share from a Social Pedagogue.

Takeover day

The Children's Commissioner's Takeover day gives children and young people the chance to work with adults for the day and be involved in decision-making. Children benefit from the opportunity to experience the world of work and make their voices heard, while adults and organisations gain a fresh perspective on what they do.

Find out more here

Dates for your diary

The following dates are confirmed for coffee mornings:
4th Feb - at Tomlinson
4th March - at Annexe
1st April - at Annexe
9:30 - 10:30am

Useful links

The International Child and Youth Care Network
Interesting articles from around the world including some about fostering.

Children Webmag
Articles including one about the successful application of social pedagogy methods to improve links between school and the families of children with problems such as absenteeism.

Report on Fostering Network Conference

Many of us recognise that foster care today can feel driven by targets, processes and procedures and that it can be all too easy to lose sight of the child in the middle of it all. This year’s Fostering Network conference challenged that situation, providing new insights and tools so members of the fostering team – whether they were foster carers, social workers, social pedagogues or team managers – could put the child at the heart of foster care every time.
Martin Stender, Jutta Weber, and I, Rasmus Bentsen, attended with interest and curiosity and found the conference incredibly inspiring.
At the conference, there was an opportunity to hear different speakers including:
  • Robert Tapsfield, chief executive, the Fostering Network
  • Edward Timpson MP, children’s minister in England
  • Dr Roger Morgan, Children’s Rights Director for England
  • Professor Pat Petrie, Centre for Understanding Social Pedagogy, University of London
  • Trustees of the Fostering Network
For full details of the Fostering Network Annual Conference, including a detailed agenda and speaker profiles, please click here.

Rasmus returns to Copenhagen

Unfortunately I will not be able to complete this new training journey with you. However, I would like to use this opportunity to thank you all for the engagement and interests you have shown from the early Head, Heart, Hands taster days to all your inspirational contributions at the core courses. I have learned a lot from meeting you all, and I have always found it incredibly inspiring to hear all your ideas, thoughts and reflections about your role as foster carers.
I am confident that you will continue your engagement and I have always been very proud of being a part of the national Head, Heart, Hands demonstration programme with all of you.
I wish you all good luck



Can anyone recommend good activities - 'the common third' to do with their children?

I can recommend Woodcraft Folk - an alternative to Scouts. Adults have to volunteer to run or help at a session once a term and can also go on camps or activities with the children. There are groups that meet in Stoke Newington and at Hackney City Farm.   

Making Christmas decorations, crackers, presents etc.

You can buy some 'make your own decorations' kits in Lidl, such as candle holders and decorative stars. You can also collect loo rolls and make crackers. Fudge is an easy present to make or truffles, if you feel more adventurous.

Another nice idea is creating a wall calendar using photographs of the children for each month to help with life story work and remember important dates!

A good read

The King of Children is a biography of Janusz Korczak, one of the key thinkers in Social Pedagogy. It tells of his early life as a medical student and how he toured the slums of Warsaw, which inspired him to help poor children. He worked as a doctor during the first world war, travelling to China. After the war, he returned to Poland to set up an orphanage, where he introduced democracy to the children's lives. He also set up a children's newspaper, The Little Review, encouraging children to write about their experiences. He saw it as a healthy outlet for their greivances. He also taught them to be self-reliant.

The book illustrates Korczak's resourcefulness and determination in maintaining the orpanage for 170 Jewish children during the second world war. The orphanage was forced to move into a ghetto in Warsaw and on their journey had a wagon of potatoes confiscated. Korczak protested about this and was imprisoned for a month.

The book ends with a vivid and disturbing description of Korczak's final sacrifice, going with the children to the concentration camp even though he was offered false identity papers. "Korczak walked, head held high, holding a child by each hand, his eyes staring straight ahead . . . as if seeing something far away."

You can order it here

Hackney's Social Pedagogue, Martin Stender has also recommended
'Learn the child - Helping looked after children to learn' by Kate Cairns and Chris Stanway
'Ten top tips for supporting education' by Eileen Fursland with Kate Cairns and Chris Stanway

Can anyone else recommend a good book? Please email any reviews or recommendations.

Putting social pedagogy into practice

Has anyone tried putting hermeneutics into practice?

The first step seems to be observing the person - their interactions, body language etc. Then a key part of hermeneutics seems to be empathising with the other person to try to see a situation from their point of view. You can use your own experience as well, to think about times when you might have been in similar situations.

This can then lead to a discussion which helps to develop further insight. I think this can be used particuarly with teenagers who can see things in very stark contrast. A discussion can help to show the teenager the subtelties of life as well as helping the adult to understand things from the teenager's perspective.

An example could be when a young person wants to do something dangerous because all their friends are doing it. Hermeneutics could help each person to see the other's point of view, for example, the stress of peer pressure v. the risks involved.   Anyone want to share their experience? 

Items for next issue

Please email Nicola Hill with items for the next issue.

Do you want to respond to any of the items in this issue? What are your thoughts on the Social Pedagogy training? Have you read a good book about Social Pedagogy? Can you contribute a favourite recipe? Have you found any good activities to do with your children? 

Stop Press

The Government has announced that it will give all fostered young people in England the right to remain with their foster carers until the age of 21, if both they and their foster carers agree. Read more about it here. What impact do you think this will have on family life and children's life chances?


As you know, Loughborough University is conducting research to get feedback on the course and its impact on our work as foster carers. The questionnaire covers areas that we have not addressed in the training, so it is hard to evaluate the impact fully. However, it was a useful way of reviewing the course, so far and deciding how much help it has been.

Our foster daughter also took part in the peer research project with a care leaver interviewing her for an hour. He asked about daily routines, activities, feelings about being in care and self-esteem, among other things. The young people get a £15 voucher for participating.